On the road again
Ace your trip planning
Baylor University’s Director of Leadership Annual Giving Stephen Sullivan and AVP of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving Sarah Kathryn Ricci are leading their team into the future by using new technology to help get their teams out on the road, create more efficiency and engagement, and ultimately close more gifts.
Since establishing a Leadership Annual Giving (LAG) team in 2018, Baylor has nearly tripled interactions, increasing donor contact by almost 275%. They have uncovered numerous major gifts from previously unengaged donors. And, they have increased leadership-level gift revenue by more than 400%.
The Baylor team knows a thing or two about getting out on the road and engaging more donors, powered by tech. Follow their lead with this step-by-step guide to smarter travel.
Carve out time for high-volume
First things first: it’s imperative to commit to a scalable outreach model (powered by tech).
The reality in any sector is that if you build your pipeline intentionally, sales (gifts) will eventually close themselves. Intentionally is the key word here. The good news is that there is a whole subset of uncultivated donors that will eventually become your planned and major gift prospects.
It is crucial to invest resources now to grow the pipeline that fuels those major- and planned-gift conversations later. Building a schedule of consistent, personalized messages means you will be on the radar of thousands more alums, and that’s how it all begins.
Step 2: Map out your trip strategy
With tech tools in place to power a steady drumbeat of personalized, high-volume outreach, it’s time to do what gift officers do best: get out on the road.
When it comes to planning trips, having nimble tech tools at your fingertips is essential.
At Baylor, the team eliminates the guesswork of deciding where to go and whom to meet with by leveraging EverTrue’s Trips & Meetings feature. This tool allows them to maximize the number of connections they’re making in a given location, and ultimately connect with more donors while they’re out on the road.
Trips & Meetings in EverTrue offers the easiest way to manage one-on-one outreach to alumni, donors, and volunteers. Use it to plan conversations with high-potential donors around anchor visits, schedule virtual meetings, initiate video chats directly from EverTrue, or plan donor outreach well in advance.
Here’s how it looks in practice:
How Callie Anderson, Regional Associate Director of Development, uses EverTrue to plan her trips
Step 3: Maximize your time - and don't sweat cancelled donor visits!
Last-minute meeting cancellations are just part of life. And they can be stressful, especially if you’re already on the road.
The team at Baylor views these cancellations as opportunities rather than setbacks. When faced with a last-minute canceled meeting, their first step is to grab their phone and open the EverTrue app to identify potential donors in their current location without the need for complicated reports.
Take a page out of the Baylor team’s book. Here’s what to do in the EverTrue app:
Stephen’s colleague Rachel navigated a last-minute canceled meeting perfectly. Using the EverTrue prospect heat map, she incorporated key data points like recent gifts, LYBUNTs, and substantial social media engagement. With a quick text to a handful of long-overlooked individuals, Rachel managed to fill the meeting gap, schedule additional visits, and even plan a future trip to Austin to follow up with these new prospects.
Here’s the text Rachel sent that secured six visits at the last-minute:
“Hi, Jillian! This is Rachel from Baylor. I’ll be in the Austin area tomorrow and just had some time open up on my calendar. I would love to stop by and say hello! Are you available?”
Canceled donor meetings may be disappointing, but they are inevitable. Leveraging mobile-friendly technology can transform cancellations into an opportunity to reconnect with individuals who may have slipped through the cracks for years.
Step 4: Don't forget the prospects you can't
Baylor’s Leadership Annual Giving team uses ThankView to build rapport with donors – virtually!
Getting out on the road to visit donors is a key piece of fundraising and stewardship. But, what happens if you just can’t line up an in-person meeting with a donor?
Video is your friend and offers the ability to maintain meaningful connections even if you can’t meet someone in person. If you find it challenging to arrange an in-person visit with a donor or their location is just beyond your travel plans, consider utilizing video to build rapport.
At Baylor, the team leverages ThankView to connect with more donors, regardless of their location. Including video in solicitation efforts can yield 74% more engagement compared to traditional appeals (source: ThankView analysis).
This concept applies to making an initial connection with a donor as well. It’s easy to ignore a traditional email, but when you open a message to find a real human on the other side of the screen, it becomes more difficult to delete. It’s hard to say no to a friendly face!
While personalized outreach at scale requires time and effort, utilizing channels that are more likely to elicit a response increases overall efficiency, and will help you create a complete donor engagement strategy.
With these four steps, you’re on your way to planning the ultimate donor engagement strategy out on the road.
Ready to put this into action at your institution? Let’s chat!